Mazes, Ores & Minerals
Treating their music like a toybox rather than a workstation
They might be steeped in admiration for Pavement, Sebadoh and Guided By Voices, but Manchester’s Mazes take their cues from ’90s lo-fi’s murky sense of fun rather than its slacker angst. Swerving past the sadness of Lou Barlow and compadres, the trio head instead for its gleeful sense of experimentation, a willingness to gobble up ideas like a packet of Skittles. With the follow-up to 2011′s A Thousand Heys, Mazes treat their music like a toybox rather than a workstation, picking up brightly colored noises and chunky plastic melodies to chew and rattle until they hit the right combination. Sometimes, this results in fingerpaint smudges of sound, like the charming clockwork instrumental “Significant Bullet” or the silver-nitrate piano of “Leominster”; other times, they take the thread of a pop song and let it wind itself up into a strung-out guitar exploration. The title track, with its literate lyrics and laconic attitude, tips a hat to the elegance of Malkmus before spiraling into a disheveled Soft Boys panic attack, while the rustling prog drums of “Sucker Punched” and the pressing groove of “Skulking” provide enough rough surfaces to snag attention. Not afraid to wander or wonder, Mazes make sure there’s intrigue around every corner.